Friday, June 17, 2011

Why I went natural with my hair... and why I am staying natural...

I can admit that I used to be truly ignorant (unknowing) when it came to natural hair. I thought all black women could wear was an afro if they decided to go natural, forgetting that there are so many styles out there that actually go with natural hair that I must have been aware of at some point, but never really put into consideration.

Why I went natural in the first place:

I had woken up from a dream one morning in which I had dreamt that my hair had grown really thick and long, that same day I ran to my mother's room and asked her to help me remove all the extensions I had in my hair. Surprised? To those who do not know, I used to do weave in's, whereby extensions were sewn into my hair. If you're thinking about asking how that is done, just leave it :P..

Well....famous statements like "black people can't grow their hair long, get real" or "If you are at most able to grow your hair long it is because you must have some kind of white ancestry". Really? And I'm Frankenstein the monster, right?

I think those arguments are really stupid because it would be like saying "Black people never get scabs when they fall, it's just white people." Last time I checked we were all humans, regardless of race, making it possible for absolutely every race, again regardless of ancestry, to grow their hair.

Hair is a result of dead cells growing out of the hair's cuticles; sure enough everyone's hair grows at a different pace and length, but not too many black people with the ignorant thought of it being only white people who can grow their hair out have ever tried to grow their hair in its natural state. It's either always perms, relaxers or any other chemical that keeps the hair straight.

Now I came across a comment on youtube which really makes a lot of sense. It said:

IMO, I DO think wearing hair naturally makes you BETTER than processed hair. 1) Blacks haven't ALWAYS thought it normal to habitually process hair. It's learned behaviour reinforced with negative reinforcement. 2) Chemical alterants for the most part are toxic, as is much of black thought about who we are. 3) Almost all folks that relax their hair are more uneasy with what natural hair reflects more than what it is.

After stumbling across a lot of videos on Youtube which helped promote my realisation of just how beautiful natural hair is, I decided to let my hair grow out in its natural state just to feel and see a difference. I can tell that my hair has grown both thicker and longer in just a couple of months and I am truly happy about that. It is sad that I did not decide on it earlier, but seeing as my mother did my hair most of the time it just seemed easier going with what she thought was best.

The point of this post is not to make people who chemically process their hair ashamed or to make them go natural, but my point is to make people question the agenda they have for doing it. Some people come up with the argument that our hair is truly unruly without chemicals in it, and up to some point I actually used to think so myself. Not anymore. I saw that my hair was more out of control with chemicals in it than what it is now. I comb through it without any trouble and the texture and feel of it is just sooo much better than when it's dead and limp from relaxer or hair texturizer.  (I always used to feel I was cheating myself and others with relaxers or weave-ins, thanking people for thinking 'my' hair looked nice, when it wasn't really mine......Sure I can do braids with extensions for the purpose of 'protecting' my hair, but not for anything else)

Growing up in a predominantly white society I did often wonder why my hair didn't have 'motion' or why it never had the texture white people had in their hair, but I am so over that now, knowing that my hair was never meant to be like that in the first place. I appreciate my hair so much more now that I accept it for what it is. I am in love with it, the way it feels in my hands, the way it turns so soft when I wash it, the curly pattern of it, the way it stretches when I braid it. My hair is diverse.

No matter how many comments I get about how I should go back to relaxing my hair or how it is impossible for me to reach the 'impossible' goal of growing my hair out long (when my hair was always long as a child growing up), I'll still stand my ground and be the last 'man' standing.

I'm glad I was finally able to open my eyes and realise that the real reason behind my relaxing it was so it could have a texture it was never meant to have to begin with. Sure I could flat iron my hair and make it straight whenever I want to, but at least then there would be no chemicals in it.

If my hair grows out natural then I shouldn't have to change that. No matter how many times I put chemicals in my hair it will still grow out a certain way from the root, so why even bother going through all that stress? I feel my hair is easier taking care of now that I have realised how beautiful it is on its own.

My hair has more fullness, volume and body to it now. It's no longer dead and limp from relaxer and other bad and harsh chemicals we aren't even suppose to use on our scalps in the first place.

My message is more: Appreciate who you are, because the truth is, the way you are is the best! :)